Cooking Lesson: Seared Scallops with a Cauliflower Puree


Food Art

In today’s cooking lesson chef Sydney Hunter from Cafe Pinot helps me overcome my fear of cooking scallops and demonstrates food, as artwork. Ok, so that’s not exactly how this barber turned chef described his cooking style, but look at this dish… it’s so gorgeous it’s almost hard to take a bite and destroy the perfect symmetry of scallop, puree, macerated red currents and multiple other components that make it look so pretty. Don’t you worry though readers, at 7+ months pregnant I won’t be detoured by looks… I’ll eat anything in site!

The dish we made: Japanese Hokkaido Scallops with a Cauliflower Puree, Red Currents in a Port Wine Reduction with Toasted Almonds, Breakfast Radish and Diakon Sprouts is admittedly, a little fancier than you might be used to seeing on our site. But please remember readers, Chic is aspirational, we always want to encourage you to experiment and try and incorporate something new. So don’t be afraid… strap on your apron and pour a glass of wine for courage and let’s overcome our fear of over cooking scallops together!


The Good Stuff

Here’s What You’ll Need

3 ea   Japanese Hokkaido Scallops (size 31/35) – a good rule of thumb I learned from chef Sydney… the smaller scallops have better flavor so aim for them when you’re in the seafood section

3 Tsp Cauliflower Puree – see recipe below

6 ea Cauliflower Floret (sliced thin)

6 ea Breakfast Radish Sliced (round slices)

6 ea Diakon Sprout Leaves

1 Tsp Almonds Sliced (toasted and sliced with a knife)

2 Tsp Red Currents (with port reduction) – See recipe below

1 Ea Lemon Wedge (for the scallop and sliced ingredient)

2 Tsp Olive Oil ( for the scallop and the dry ingredients)

1 Pinch Fleur de Sel (to finish the scallop and dry ingredients)

1 Tsp Paddle Fish Caviar


1/4  Whiter Cauliflower

1 Cup  Milk

1 Cup  Cream

1 Tsp Nutmeg (ground)

2 Tsp Kosher Salt


  1. Slice cauliflower very thin do not use the stems only the florets.
  2. Place into a sauce pot with all of the ingredients and place on to the stove on medium heat.
  3. Cook cauliflower simmering slow until cauliflower is tender and strain in a colander. (reserve cooking liquid)
  4. Place cauliflower into a blender and puree until smooth.  You can use some of the cooking liquid to loosen the puree if it is too thick so that is it loose and pliable. (about ¼ of your liquid reserved )
  5. Cool off and refrigerate until ready to use.


2 Tbs Dried Red Currents

1 Cup  Ruby Red Port Wine

1/4 Cup  Granulated Sugar


  1. Place ingredient into the pot and stir until sugar is melted on low heat.
  2. Reduce liquid until it is just below the level of current.
  3. Cool off and place in the refrigerator until cold.


Prepping Our Plate


Setting the Stage for Scallops

We started by prepping our plate with three separate trails of cauliflower puree and drizzles of the red currents.


Scallop Trio

Next we seasoned each scallop with salt to cover lightly


Searing Scallops

Next add your olive oil to a pan and set on medium high… bring oil to smoking point. If it’s not smoking, it’s not ready for your scallops! Once it starts to smoke use your fingers to shape each scallop into a tighter disc (they tend to get bent out of shape while waiting to be cooked). Place scallop into smoking pan and reduce heat to medium high.  Sear one sides of Scallops until golden brown.  Turn over scallop and cook less than the first side for about 10 seconds. (Japanese scallops from Hokkaido are very sweet and are best cook medium rare to rare.  Cook one side more that the other for the caramelized flavor.  If you would to cook the scallop with the same color on both sides they would over cook since they are very small.


Out of the Fire

Remove scallops from pan and place on a paper towel. Drizzle olive oil over the scallop, and squeeze some lemon over it. Season with Fleur de Sel.


Build Your Plate

Add one scallop to each trail of cauliflower puree and begin building the other elements on top of it. Add your toasted almonds, your cauliflower floret slices, your radishes and your sprouts.


Ready to Eat

Finish each scallop with a small dollop of caviar and you’re ready for to eat.


Not barefoot, but pregnant in the kitchen!

Perfect Bite

The final plate held three perfect little beautiful bites, which made me think that these could also be a gorgeous amuse bouche if served individually.

Taste Test

Even though it was pretty, I had to try this pretty little bite. As expected it was a symphony of fresh bright flavors and the perfect summer indulgence. Try it out at home to impress your friends, or, if it seems too daunting make reservations for a patio table at Cafe Pinot in downtown LA and let chef Sydney create it for you.

The End Result